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Future models - Holden - Commodore - SSX concept

Holden's hot SSX is no Torana

Hot hatch: The SSX hatchback, shown here at the Sydney motor show, could be launched within two years.

Nostalgia buffs may have won on Monaro, but the SSX concept will not be called Torana

Holden logo29 Oct 2002

LET'S get one thing straight. It's a hatchback Holden V8, but there's no way the SSX concept car will be called Torana.

That's straight from Holden boss Peter Hanenberger: "It's too big for it - definitely not," he says.

So while the nostalgia buffs won on Monaro, they will not get their way if SSX makes it into production. It will get its own name, but it won't copy the last locally-built hatchback that died in 1979.

Mr Hanenberger wants to create a 21st century Torana to sit underneath Commodore, but says there are no concrete plans to do so at this stage.

The same cannot apply to SSX, the all-wheel drive Gen III V8-powered five-door based on the Commodore body, which he says could be on sale within two years if the green light was given.

But whether SSX - on display at the Sydney motor show - specifically makes it or not, there is no doubt all-wheel drive will eventually underpin Holden's passenger vehicles as well as the forthcoming cross-over range of utes and wagons.

"As I have said always, once we have all-wheel drive, which we started with the Cross version, then we can fit it in different versions to all the other platforms and that is clearly our intent," Mr Hanenberger said.

SSX (SS for sports model and X for crossover) would be viable on something like 7500 local sales per annum, and Holden believes at best estimates would top out at 10,000.

Exports are a strong possibility too, Mr Hanenberger nominating markets like the Middle East, Europe and Japan as possible targets.

But he says the US, where Monaro is launched next year, is a no-go: "Not at this time, four-wheel drive needs a lot of development and things before we ever think about America ... we are determining pretty much with them what we can do and can't, and we don't want to do any foolish things." Mr Hanenberger said a decision on production go-ahead for SSX would not be made this year.

He also unveiled a more prosaic hatchback in the form of the new ZC Vectra, which goes on sale early in 2003. The car shown was a 3.2-litre V6 CDXi.

Other Holden stand highlights at the show included the limited edition Statesman LS8 and Jackaroo Nullarbor.

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